How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Program near Lake Wales Florida
Now that you have made a decision to become a part of the gratifying field of healthcare and enroll in a medical assistant school near Lake Wales FL, it’s time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? Many future students start by checking out the medical assistant schools that are closest to their residences and then lean toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are important factors as well. You may choose to look into a few online medical assistant programs as an alternative also (more about that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that task, we have included some questions that you should ask each of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Job of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Primarily their job is to make sure that the Lake Wales FL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they can be more of a clinical assistant, an administrative assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with providing direct support to the physicians, nurses and other health practitioners but can also be found working in an office or at the front desk. Some of the many duties of a medical assistant include:
- Completing insurance forms and filing claims
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for physicians
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though medical assistants can perform almost any task they are qualified to under Florida law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and attain certification. Two of the options available are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training
Unlike most other healthcare practitioners, medical assistants are not mandated to become certified, licensed, or to earn a college degree. However, many Lake Wales FL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically 2 options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest way to becoming a medical assistant is to attain a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about 1 year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are designed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically 2 year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as vocational and technical schools. They are more expansive in design than the certificate or diploma programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They usually have a practical component requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are commonly a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs available online too. They are a good alternative for students who may not have the time to go to classes on campus but could work them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good choice for students who continue to work full-time while pursuing their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online schools have lower tuitions than the more traditional on-campus alternatives. Supplemental costs such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies may be lessened also. Just bear in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can usually be completed in Lake Wales FL area medical facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the ideal option for you. Between the online classes and the practical training, everything necessary to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is provided.
Certification Programs for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal requirement, but is a good choice for those who wish to advance their careers. It will not only help in securing a position after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. Some potential Lake Wales FL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will be graduating within thirty days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available as well, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to assessing your medical assistant school options, you have to decide which type of credential you want to earn, and if you would prefer attending classes on-campus or online at home. Once those selections have been made, you can start the process of comparing medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students limit their searches to the schools that are nearest to Lake Wales FL with the lowest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional issues that you must explore when assessing schools. To assist you with that task, following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are thinking about before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the school you choose is accredited. To start with, accreditation helps guarantee that the training you receive will be both comprehensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the approved organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your school is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be eligible to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And last, as mentioned previously, a number of potential Lake Wales FL employers will not employ a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passage Percentage? Most of the accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prepare students to pass one or more certification exams. First, you need to find out which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then of course you will want to enroll in a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. This is one of the ways to help evaluate the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with lower rates are those that you will want to avoid.
Which Credentials are Available? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, starting at just 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to obtain an Associate Degree and receive a broader education that will take about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you choose to pursue, make sure that the colleges you are reviewing offer the type of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Offered? Numerous medical assistant programs offer internship programs with Lake Wales FL area medical providers. They are a great means to receive hands-on practical training and experience. They can also assist students establish relationships within the Lake Wales health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Finding that initial job may be a daunting task for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little help from a job placement program. Confirm that the colleges you are researching offer job placement assistance in the Lake Wales FL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a high job placement rate for its students, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also indicates that it has a broad network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classes? Class size might be an indication of how much personal attention you will receive during your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If practical, try to attend a few classes before selecting a program to observe what the teaching environment is like and just how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working on a full time basis, it’s essential that the college you choose offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Wales FL, confirm that those times are offered. You may be able to fit your classes in easier with an online program, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up classes that you may have to miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Medical Assistant Program near Lake Wales Florida?
If you are considering attending a medical assistant school in the Lake Wales FL area, following is some background information that may be both interesting and useful regarding your future campus location.
Lake Wales, Florida
Lake Wales is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 14,225 at the 2010 census. As of 2014[update], the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 15,140. It is part of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lake Wales is located in central Florida, west of Lake Kissimmee and east of Tampa.
The city of Lake Wales was established near the lake in 1911–12, planned by the Lake Wales Land Company. The spelling Wales was used for the city, although the lake is still generally spelled Lake Wailes. Allen Carleton Nydegger, a Civil Engineer, was contracted by the Lake Wales Land Company to plot out the community of Lake Wales. He and his crew camped on the shores of Crystal Lake and spent months plotting out the new community. In 1925 the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad built a new line from Haines City joining lines to Everglades City. A depot was opened on this line at Lake Wales. The City of Lake Wales was officially incorporated in April 1917.
In 2004, Lake Wales endured the effects of three hurricanes which came through the area: Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne. The three hurricanes brought hurricane-force winds to the Lake Wales area within a space of 44 days. In 2017, Hurricane Irma brought more hurricane-force winds to Lake Wales.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant School Lake Wales FL
It’s essential to start your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Whether you’re planning to launch a career in healthcare starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to get the right information on available programs before making your selection. There are so many schools providing training these days that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. You came to this site initially because you had an interest in Medical Assistant Degree Requirements. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have decided to attend either an on-campus or online school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by choosing the ideal program you can subsequently begin a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Lake Wales FL.
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